If you are unsure whether journaling is for you or not, check out my story, it’ll provide you with some insight and clarity!
To be honest, I wasn’t intrigued about journaling at all before I actually saw the benefits from my own experience. It was ostensibly time consuming to me at first, and so I rarely wrote reflections. I used to write down a few thoughts every now and then, but that isn’t quite the same as consistently journaling. Consistent journaling has never been a thing in my life, but fear not, it’ll be now.
So how did I start journaling? I was required to, simple as that. My apprenticeship platform required me to fill out a reflection sheet that tracks my tasks. It had a section for tasks, deadlines, hours worked, reflection and notes. That’s how detailed it was. Originally, I thought that was quite unnecessary because that’s just one extra thing to complete. I also didn’t see the point of tracking all my tasks. I completed it though, and filled out all the details, but I didn’t motivate myself to start writing things down because the idea about journaling just didn’t feel like something that’ll work for me.
I realized that it’s the entire journaling process that really pays off in the end. The main reason why I believed journaling would probably not work for me is because I didn’t journal continuously. When my apprenticeship platform made me reflect every week, I didn’t see much growth when I reflected each week. And if it wasn’t mandatory, I probably wouldn’t have continued, but thank goodness it was mandatory. When I looked back at everything I did, I saw how interesting journaling is. In fact, I would say it’s magical. I could not believe that I did so much. My journal not only reflected my growth, but it also pointed me in the direction I want to go in the near future. I have to say, this is by far the most useful tool for career development.
Before I came to the realization of how important journaling is, I totally understood the benefits of journaling, especially considering that I literally work at a journaling company, but it wasn’t convincing enough for me personally. I just felt like I only needed to enjoy the work experience in the moment. Certainly I’ll remember the highlights, but the details of what I did are also so important. I guess I undermined how powerful work journaling can be in the long run. Towards the end of my apprenticeship, I saw the great impact of journaling. I understand myself so much better, and I know what I’m capable of, what I’ve learnt, and how I can use that to achieve my goals in the near future. Because of that, I’ll absolutely regret it if I had not journaled my way through my apprenticeship.
Growth is such an important factor in every career, and journaling allows me to see my growth, which helps me make harder decisions. Sometimes I find myself too focused or drawn into one thing, but when I write everything down, it gives me a clearer vision, and organizes my thoughts. It’s like having a visual representation. I remember I had a coaching session with my mentor, and though it was only one hour, we covered so many things. I felt like I had a ton of thoughts all at once, it was kind of overwhelming to think about. My mentor said to journal because it really helps. I’m so glad she told me to journal because I figured out which choice to make afterwards.
I guess it’s this realization of how beneficial journaling is that motivates me to continue. Going forward, I’ll continue to journal because I know I can leverage that in my future careers. I’ve gained so much self-awareness through reflecting on my experience. For example, I used to think I was not tech-savvy, and I couldn’t do anything web development related, but after I tried, I realized I can actually figure things out. This was a surprising moment for me, and was such a valuable experience. I reflected on this experience, and I learnt more about myself. I can go this direction if I want to now because I know that I have experience and skill, and I also found the process interesting. This was part of my apprenticeship, so I had to journal about it, but if I hadn’t, I don’t think my memory of this would have been as vivid as it is. I think it’s the details included in the reflection sheet, such as how long I worked or what the entire work process was like, that reminds me about what I accomplished or what I have yet to accomplish. Having this record, I will be aware of what I can potentially do in my future career. I don’t think anyone can remember details like these in the long run, so that’s how helpful journaling is.
Journaling is such a powerful tool, and my best advice for you would be to just try it. Give it a shot, and see where journaling can take you. It’s much more than writing down thoughts everyday. There’s a whole record full of experiences giving you information that can help you with your career direction. I know you might think it’s time consuming, I thought that too, but it really isn’t. And you can’t just journal once and decide that it’s not for you because you won’t be able to see the impact of it in the long run. When you don’t have time, just jot down the tasks you completed, and come back later to reflect on it.
I know it’s easier said than done, but I promise it’s worth it. You’ll likely come to a realization of how beneficial journaling is just like I did. When you experience something from your personal experience, it’s different than just hearing about it from others. Journaling is not a one time thing, it’s the entire process that pays off when you look back at everything you’ve done.
Rachel, Daily Work Journal's intern 2021/01-2021/04